On Sunday, May 27, thunderstorms pounded the Baltimore region for hours. The storm morphed Old Ellicott City into a deadly flood zone. Here’s how it happened. (Baltimore Sun video)
Gov. Larry Hogan has asked President Donald Trump to declare last month’s deadly Ellicott City flood a major disaster for Baltimore, and Howard and Baltimore counties, which would qualify those areas for federal relief funding.
In a statement, Hogan called the devastation “heartbreaking to witness.”
“This time, areas of Baltimore County and Baltimore City had significant damage as well,” Hogan said. “Our administration is committed to providing all available assistance to these communities, and the federal disaster declaration that I am requesting will bring additional resources to help impacted Marylanders.”
Also on Monday, the Trump administration approved the state’s request for a federal disaster declaration related to the rain, landslides and flooding in Fredrick and Washington counties in mid-May.
In a letter a week ago, the state’s congressional delegation had cited the “severity and magnitude” of the storms and said that “effective recovery is beyond the capabilities of the State of Maryland and Frederick and Washington County governments alone.”
Following the Baltimore-area flooding, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency toured the affected areas to assess the damage, the state said. A full damage estimate has not been publicly released.
Ellicott City’s historic district has long been a shopping and dining destination for many, despite the threat of periodic floods throughout its history. But after the second major flood in two years, business owners are facing the difficult question of whether to rebuild — again.
“This storm had a significant impact on the entire area and our estimates confirm this,” MEMA executive director Russ Strickland said in a statement.
If the federal government issues a Major Disaster Declaration, Hogan’s announcement said, federal assistance could be made available through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
The amount of public infrastructure damage has already exceeded the $3 million threshold for the county to receive assistance to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure, according to spokeswoman Elise Armacost.
The damage estimates from private businesses and citizens will be used to assess whether they are qualified to apply for low-interest loans from the SBA, Armacost said.